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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1574—Piety Low in Oslo; Meditations at a Funeral; Trouble in Nimes

    (Written July, 1886, from Oslo, Norway, to Edson and Emma White. First part missing.)

    ... stood one feeble man as authority for everything. He has not undertaken to bring the people up and to perfect every man in Christ Jesus. The ideas he has had upon these things have not been according to the light God has given me, and yet Elder Matteson has accomplished a large work. The error was in sending him alone at the beginning. There should have been several to unite in the work. Oh, that God would help His people with proper understanding to broaden, to extend! Oh, that Heaven's light may shine forth upon the responsible men and upon those who go forth to labor! We can work successfully only through God.21MR 340.1

    Half past ten o'clock—At nine o'clock, by appointment, I met the committee to talk with them in regard to the way of observing the Sabbath, and the elements in the church that had been tolerated and had disfigured the work and brought the truth into disrepute. This influence, unless firmly dealt with, would be the means of turning many souls from the truth. I spoke very decidedly, in the fear of God, and I left no chance for any misunderstanding, I assure you.21MR 340.2

    I pointed to the blacksmith's shop, silent on the first day of the week, and the noise of hammering and of the anvil and clatter of iron on the Sabbath. And then close by was the marble shop, and the sound of hammer and chisel mingled with the prayers of a people who are professedly honoring God by observing His Sabbath.21MR 340.3

    Entering into the ears of God is all this din and all this confusion, I said, dishonoring God on your very premises, under your control. The Lord has sent you a message to which you are to take heed. You may regard it as an idle tale, but I tell you, in the day of God you will know the things which I tell you are verity and truth.21MR 340.4

    I related to them that, when in America, I was shown the work in Norway, the church in Christiania in particular, and the slow advancement they were making. The standard of piety and of truth was very low. The truth was made a matter of convenience. Rather than bringing themselves up to the Bible standard they were making their business and their own selfish interest the standard. God will accept no such service.21MR 340.5

    An angel of God said, “Look and observe carefully what this people are doing, mingling their own dross with pure truth.” I had Sara present to report, and will not make the statement I designed to make, but have the words copied and then will have it more exact. Now, said I, I expect you may, some of you, consider my words as idle tales, but you must meet them in the judgment and I must meet them. I cannot abate one iota from their severity. The meeting for preaching was to commence in fifteen minutes and I told them I wanted another meeting to express the mind of the Spirit of God concerning them more fully upon some points. Next Monday—tomorrow evening—I meet the church and address them all.21MR 341.1

    As soon as I ceased speaking Brother Hansen arose and said, “I do not consider these as idle tales. I receive them, and believe the truth has been spoken to us this morning, and I thank Sister White for saying them.” Then I think all in the room responded eagerly, heartily, “We receive these words and mean to act upon them.”21MR 341.2

    Now, Brother Hansen is the most influential man in the church and the only one who has much of any property. He is a large builder and has had men under him. He is a large contractor and I have talked with him plainly before in regard to his position and example. Then I have seen him drawing off and feared he would give up the truth, but I felt so strongly for him I have written to him, close, earnest, and yet in love, pleading in Christ's stead for him to save his soul. He has had to have others read his letters for him as he could not read English, but he has received these letters gladly and has ever treated me with the greatest respect, and I felt that I could fall down upon my knees and thank God for this token for good.21MR 341.3

    I had reined myself up; every nerve was strained to the utmost, and calmly and in the spirit of Jesus, but firmly and decidedly, as plucking a brand from the burning, I delivered this testimony. I am so thankful the Lord did open hearts to receive the reproof and warning. When I came to my room I was weak as a child. I knew not how they would take my message.21MR 341.4

    Now I expect there will be a change, but Satan will oppose every step of advance, and so long have the people here professing present truth tampered with sacred things, letting down to a level with common things, that I expect it will require stern efforts and much wrestling against inclination to bring them up where God would have them.21MR 341.5

    I think if our brethren could realize how much it cost me—the weak instrument—to bear such testimonies, they would not think that this was a work I have selected myself.21MR 341.6

    Two o'clock p.m—W.C.W. spoke for a hack to take me to ride—the first time I have had a ride in a carriage for four weeks. We had a very pleasant ride two hours long. We saw a curiously constructed church, a state church, about three hundred years old. It is most curiously constructed. It has been presented to the king of Norway. Close by was an old, rough-looking building with curious specimens of antique crockery, brass and tin waiters [trays], plates, and various articles of wearing apparel and utensils.21MR 342.1

    There are forests, groves, parks, and lakes owned by the city where the people, rich and poor, can get out into the country. We saw many, many people with baskets of food resorting to these forests, and what a blessing this is for them! Men, women, and children are flocking out of the city to enjoy the woods.21MR 342.2

    W.C.W. and I walk out twice each day. My hip has been so very painful I could not walk out much—not enough for my health. We walk quite a little distance to the king's palace and in the king's gardens, which have many acres of land in maple trees and trees of all kinds and green grass and flowers. Anyone can have access to these grounds. Seats are furnished for the convenience of all. Seminaries are located near and the students resort to these groves to study their lessons.21MR 342.3

    W.C.W. and I have walked through the cemetery not far distant. It is an extensive ground and is kept up. Women are hired to water and care for the graves for a small sum from different families. The graves are made shapely—oval—and flowers of every description are planted on these graves. It looks like one beautiful flower garden, but the tombstones and the monuments remind you that you are in the city of the dead, and I look forward in imagination to the time when the trump of God shall sound and all that are in their graves shall hear His voice and come forth, those that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.21MR 342.4

    Oh, what a scene will we then see—some coming forth to life eternal at the first resurrection! Upon them the second death shall have no power. And then at the end of a thousand years the wicked dead come forth. I cannot endure to think of this. I dwell with pleasure upon the resurrection of the just, who shall come forth from all parts of the earth, from rocky caverns, from dungeons, from caves of the earth, from the waters of the deep—not one is overlooked. Every one shall hear His voice. They will come forth with triumph and victory. Then there is to be no more death, no more sin, no more sorrow.21MR 342.5

    We witnessed a burial scene last Friday. There was a large building upon the ground where services were held, and the coffin was placed in a small room connected with the building. Several women were there and one after another would bring upon a waiter very rich bouquets and these were received and fastened upon the coffin until it was entirely covered. There were two clergymen of the State Church with their long black gowns and quilled ruffles about the neck and the wrists.21MR 343.1

    The coffin was borne by bearers. There were no carriages. The grave was prepared as was Father's, with evergreens all around it, and the grave was lined with evergreens. I think this was some important personage. But beneath all these wreaths of flowers we knew was death. The coffin was lowered into the grave and the officiating minister was handed a small shovel. He threw a shovelful of earth and then made a few remarks, and another, and another, making some remarks, until the ceremony was ended. He said a few words and all were dismissed, and everything had been conducted in a solemn, impressive manner.21MR 343.2

    Well, I must not linger longer over this letter, but send it to you without further delay.21MR 343.3

    Twenty minutes to eight—My appointment was at six o'clock. We had an interested audience. I spoke upon Christ riding into Jerusalem, and Brother Oyen translated just as fast as I gave him, sentence by sentence. I know that there was a deep impression made upon the minds of the congregation. Many were in tears. I felt the deep moving of the Spirit of God upon my own heart and, by the promptness and earnestness of the way he translated, I believe he felt the Spirit of the Lord upon him.21MR 343.4

    Well, I think my labors here in public speaking are now ended. I must yet labor with the church, then I leave them until the judgment, never expecting to see their faces again after I leave them. Oh, what will be our meeting then? Will it be with fullness of joy and hope? Oh, God grant that it may be so! If we can meet Jesus in peace and be saved, forever saved, we shall be the happiest of beings! Oh, to be at home at last where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest! Heaven, sweet heaven! Oh, I shall appreciate heaven! I know that I must watch and keep my garments unspotted from the world or I shall never enter the abode of the blessed.21MR 343.5

    The east is not separated farther from the west than the children of light are separated from the children of darkness. We must watch continually and pray always that we may not be overcome with Satan's devices. I long for a greater faith, a more earnest consecration.21MR 343.6

    I am informed Brother and Sister Hansen have come to see me. I must see them, although weary.21MR 344.1

    July 12—We had, I think, a very profitable visit with Brother and Sister Hansen. The Lord is surely drawing him to the light. I have borne a plain testimony to him both by pen and voice, and I have trembled in my soul as to how he would receive it. He told me through Brother Olsen that when he first read my letters written to him from Basel he could see but little light in them; the second time he read them he could see more; and the third time he could see still more, and he could receive it all; but had he moved upon his first impression he would have cast them aside as setting forth his case in a strong light that was not true. He has invited us to visit him in his home on the island, which he occupies in the summer. I have promised to go. I wish to draw nigh to him and help him all I can. King Oscar has a building on this same island which we shall visit. There are many things of interest connected with it that are desirable to see. The royal family spend some time there in summer.21MR 344.2

    I wonder sometimes if I have left my home to no more return to it. I can truly say all the comforts and conveniences of home do not weigh anything with me to turn my face that way unless I see my work is done and I am free to leave Europe. I am anxious to obtain that building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. I long to be there! “Come, Lord Jesus,” and come quickly!21MR 344.3

    We received letters from Brother Whitney, who has just visited Nimes, in France. He says the tent was pitched but the lawless element has disturbed them much and the authorities are bound to protect them, but do not do it, and it is on test and trial whether a tent can be run in Nimes. They have a good working force, and if they are compelled to take down the tent they will work from house to house and make the most possible of the situation. One or two meetings have broken up in confusion. It may be the workers will decide that they will have to commence their labors in places surrounding Nimes. They have their tent pitched within a stone wall eight feet high, entered only by a gate, and they may make arrangements to shut out this rough element.21MR 344.4

    May the Lord cause His truth to triumph! The angels of God can protect the tent so that the people will have an opportunity to hear the truth. It is a little singular that the Catholics are the only men who would give their names to be responsible for the tent manager, so that the police could be employed, but the police as yet have done nothing to quell the disturbance. There is an excellent interest to hear, and God is able to make His truth to triumph amid the discordant elements of the world who are at enmity with God. Satan uses these elements to hinder the progress of truth.21MR 344.5

    But now I must pack up to go tomorrow to Denmark. Love to all friends. I looked for your patterns and measurement but none came, so we can do nothing now here. We could get sewing done for twenty-seven cents per day, and we wanted to purchase and make Emma a dress, and now if your measure comes we can perhaps let someone do the business for us. Am sorry for the delay. I shall see you have stockings knit for winter.21MR 345.1

    I received an excellent letter from Emma. Thank you, Emma. I am so tired I can scarcely write a word fit to read.21MR 345.2

    Edson spoke of Father's chair. I thought you all knew what chair I meant. It is in your house—the patent rocker. The chair was purchased in Texas, sent to Colorado, and then to Battle Creek. I wanted it sent to California, but if it is not, never mind.—Letter 113, 1886.21MR 345.3

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    April 18, 1991.

    Entire Letter.